Rah! Rah! For O-Bam-A!

That’s the sound of the New York Times cheering the ascension of a fellow Democrat to the White House. At New York magazine, Gabriel Sherman reports on the paper’s Obama inauguration party:

Down on the Bowery last night, the New York Times hosted an inauguration party at the New Museum to fête Barack Obama’s nascent presidency. At around six o’clock, guests began arriving in the museum’s cavernous ground floor and were handed straw top hats and American-flag pinwheels. At the rear of the lobby, bartenders mixed drinks including the”Hail to the Chief,” a cocktail of Krome vodka, pomegranate juice, seltzer, lime juice, and blueberry garnish. A D.J. played sixties pop songs, and a projector displayed historic images of past inaugurations onto the bare white walls. On the other side of the room, guests lined up to enter the Facebook photo booth and have their photos beamed online.

When I arrived at the party, an attendant instructed me to wear a red, white, and blue pin showing an illustration of Obama in profile with the date 01/20/09 stenciled in white, all floating above the Times’ logo. The gift bag contained a twelve-inch by twelve-inch poster of the same image. The marriage of the Times’ flag and Obama’s silhouette was jarring. One guest remarked that the poster looked like something put out by Pravda — state-run liberal media. (Except with less red and more blue.)

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Times spokesperson Catherine Mathis explained that the Times’ marketing department, and not the newsroom, staged the event. “The items in the gift bags — UTZ chips circa the era of Mad Men, discounts at Public restaurant because it’s for the “people” — were chosen to celebrate the new era in politics and to allude to [the] time of Kennedy when the nation seemed to have a similar sense of hope and excitement,” Mathis wrote in an e-mail.

Sherman thinks it’s only natural for the Times to like Obama since the new President shares the paper’s “cerebral sensibilities.” Yeah, right. What Obama does share with the Times is political ideology. It’s nice to see that the paper is making no bones about it.

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